Anyone who has done a home rennovation project knows that you have to do destruction before you can do construction. Demo before renno. Sledgehammer before paint brush. Most projects begin with a lot of dust and destruction, leaving a big mess that often makes you wonder whether this was a good idea in the first place. So it is with the new creation in Christ. There must be death before resurrection. We must decrease; Christ must increase, and that doesn’t suit old Adam one bit. He would prefer a superficial paint job, a coat of religious shellac over teardown and rebuild.Continue reading
Anxiety. We all have it to one degree or another. Sleepless nights, panic attacks in the middle of the day. Racing heartbeat. Inability to focus on any one thing for more than a few seconds. Anxiety is symptomatic of our culture. The leading over-the-counter medications are for sleep and stomach disorders. Anti-anxiety meds are among the leading prescription drugs. We are an anxious society, an anxious people living in a constant state of anxiety, and it’s eating us up from the inside.Continue reading
Havel havelim, says Qoheleth. Vanities piled on top of vanities. Emptiness. Nothing. Vapor. All is vanity. Wealth, fame, celebrity, power…all of it. Vanity. Nothing. Chasing after the wind.
You build a business and a fool takes it over and drives it into the ditch of bankruptcy. You amass a fortune and are buried next to a poor man, and your children and grandchildren squander every one of your hard-earned pennies. Vanitiy of vanities.Continue reading
“When you pray, say: Father.” (Luke 11:2)
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
There are two kinds of prayer – the prayer of unbelief and the prayer of fait; the prayer from the spirit of old Adam and the prayer of the Spirit of Christ.Continue reading
The Jesus of today’s gospel lesson is the Jesus who is Guest and Host. So when we ask, which one is he, the answer is a resounding “yes,” as it is whenever we ask which one he is in our divine worship – what we celebrate with each other on every Lord’s day, the Lord being present with us.Continue reading
A priest, a Levite, a Samaritan. Three men had an open window of opportunity to be neighbor to the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho.
Which one is not like the other two? The priest and Levite are clergy, religious leaders, pillars of their community. The Samaritan is a nobody, an anonymous Joe on the road. A Samaritan, despised by Judaean and Galilean alike who considered Samaritans to be half-breeds and heretics. They wouldn’t greet him on the road or talk to him at the town well. He’s not like the other two. The genius of this parable is that it forces a religious Jew, a synagogue lawyer, an expert in the intricacies of Torah, to identify with this Samaritan. You can almost hear the resigned reluctance in the lawyer’s voice when he has to answer Jesus’ question – Who was neighbor to the man who fell among thieves?Continue reading
In Nomine Iesu
Today’s Gospel of the sending of the seventy speaks to the church and her mission. It is a preliminary sending, the church’s “vicarage” so to speak, prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection before the big sending with the disciple-making mandate to baptize and teach the nations. This episode is told only in Luke, for whom Jesus’ mission to the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, was a very big deal. Jesus is more than the Messiah of Israel, He’s the Savior of the world, the promised seed of Abraham through whom “all nations” of the world would be blessed. His cross extends in all directions, to the ends of the earth, to all peoples everywhere, to those who have heard and those who have not heard, to everyone you meet and everyone you know.Continue reading
In our Old Testament reading, we heard about a burned out and dejected prophet Elijah who seems to have lost his way in the face of threats from Queen Jezebel. In the Gospel, we hear about three potential disciples whom Jesus seems to brush off as He sets His face to Jerusalem and His Good Friday cross. We’re not prophets like Elijah. We’re not potential recruits for discipleship. We’re baptized believers in Christ. We have been given to follow Jesus. Our struggle is not with the Jezebel’s of this world, though it may seem to be that way at times. Rather, our struggle is deep within us, a spiritual struggle of Flesh and Spirit.Continue reading
Jesus arrived by boat in the region of the Gerasenes, opposite Galilee. It was country. The goyim, the uncircumcized. Outsiders to Israel. He came to seek and to save the lost, even the lost outside the house Israel. Waiting on the shore to meet Him was homeless and naked man possessed by a “legion” of demons, living among the dead in the catacombs. The local authorities had seized him and bound him in shackles and chains, but he always managed to escape and flee back to the wilderness.Continue reading
Colossians 1:13-20 / Last Sunday (Proper 26C) / 24 November 2013
In Nomine Iesu
The end has come. The last Sunday of the church year. It’s a little artificial, perhaps. A little liturgically“geeky” to be celebrating the end of the year a month before the end of the calendar year, but that’s the way it goes with the Church that always has her eye fixed on the horizon, waiting for the dawning Day, waiting for the Bridegroom to make His appearance, waiting and watching for the Day no man can know when the Son of Man comes as a thief in the night.